Harrington Group Blog

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Looking to get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit but don’t have time to go out this year? We have the perfect recipe: easy to prepare, easy to clean, cooks while you’re sleeping or preoccupied, and can make for plenty of leftovers…Corned beef and cabbage, right from your Crockpot at home.

Here’s what you need:

-3 carrots , peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
-1 yellow onion , peeled and quartered
-1/2 pound small potatoes , halved
-1 corned beef brisket (about 3-4 pounds), plus
a packet or 1 tablespoon of pickling spice
-2 8-12 ounce beers (Ales or lagers are recommended)
**If you aren’t a beer drinker, a cold beef broth will also do
-6 sprigs fresh thyme
-1/2 head cabbage , cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
-1/2 cup sour cream
-3-4 tablespoons prepared horseradish, to taste

Ready to cook? Here’s all you need to do:

-Arrange the carrots, onion, potatoes, and corned beef in the slow cooker
-Pour the beers over the veggies
-Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
-Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or until the corned beef is tender.
-Get some work done, get some sleep, etc  
-Place the cabbage on top of the beef and continue cooking for 1 more hour until the cabbage is tender

*Recipe courtesy of foodiecrush.com

This feeds a family of four heartily, or can be saved for leftovers. You can even take the meat and make some Beef Reuben sandwiches. Looking for more? We recommend adding a drop of green liquid food coloring into your beer glass before you pour. BOOM-green beer!! It is possible to be in spirit, have some fun, and not spend too much money doing it. And best of all, it can fit in your busy schedule.
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As we have mentioned in a previous blog post as well as social media, we have a new building! Well, almost. Construction has been underway since late 2021 and we are very excited about it. We want to keep our valued customers updated on the progress as we go along and when we finally get to call this new building our home.

Since we last put out a progress update, our contractor has been hard at work moving our project along. Some of the latest developments include demolition of the ceiling placement of the air conditioning units, inspection of the electrical panels by the city and a demolition of the walls. Current status of the building stands as a clean slate (without ceilings and walls), ready for a new layout. We are loving the opportunity to be so heavily involved in the creative process when it comes to design and ultimate lay out of our new office space. This allows us to really customize the building to fit our specific needs (and some of our additional wants).

Check out these pictures of where we are at and stay tuned for further updates! We hope you are as excited as we are.





































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As cheesy as it may seem, people love to see organizations get into the holiday spirit. Valentine’s Day may be one of the smaller holidays throughout the year, but it sure does pack a punch when it comes to having a strong theme. And what better theme to focus on when considering nonprofit fundraising than LOVE! This loved-themed day can be about more than chocolate and flowers (and many people are looking for a way to celebrate that doesn’t involve a significant other). Whether it be showing love to rescue pets, the homeless or needy children, Valentine’s Day can have a place in your nonprofit fundraising efforts.

If you want to leverage this holiday theme to your advantage but you aren’t quite sure how to do that, let’s explore some possibilities that will hopefully inspire you either directly or indirectly. First, it’s important to remember some key points about fundraising. Donors respond strongly to efforts that they can form an emotional connection with. Appealing to emotions is one of the most fool proof methods of fundraising. Valentine’s Day is perfect for this because who doesn’t want to give back in the form of love? In addition, donors want to recognize a clear connection to your central cause. They shouldn’t have to guess what they are donating money to or how it will benefit the cause or community at large. Make sure to highlight your cause within your fundraising efforts. Now, let’s take a look at some ideas to get your creative juices flowing…

 Flowers For A Cause

I know I said many people are looking for a way to celebrate without flowers and chocolate BUT hear me out…partnering with a local florist can be a great way to raise money for your cause on Valentine’s Day. People will always be buying flowers for this holiday, so why not buy flowers that also fund a nonprofits’ efforts to spread good in the world? You can design and print special cards to attach to bouquets that highlight your cause (whether its animals, domestic abuse, LGBTQ, homeless, etc.) as well as describe a dollar amount that will be going towards this cause after a donor purchase.

Love Letters To Donors

Donors do appreciate recognition and receiving letters or calls from organizations that they give back to helps them to feel more connected to both the organization and the cause. What better time to show love and appreciation for donors than Valentine’s Day? Send out special love letters, either via snail mail or email, both thanking donors and explaining your current efforts to better your community. You may receive a boost in donations.

Bake Sale

A classic and timeless fundraising avenue but with a Valentine’s theme! Red, pink, hearts and all things love mixed with cookies, chocolate, brownies and candy. I’m hungry just thinking about it. Everyone is looking for something to get their sweetheart on Valentine’s Day so aim to give them an option that kills two birds with one stone: a gift for their loved one and a donation to a good cause. Create custom labels that make your cause clear and get to baking!

Speed Dating Event

Appealing to all the singles on Valentine’s Day not only gives them a way to celebrate but also allows them to direct their feelings of love towards your organization and the subsequent cause behind it. Hold a little speed dating event and use the ticket costs to fund your cause. This event can even be paired with the bake sale idea or any other in-event items that can be sold (think custom greeting cards, handmade gifts, etc.).

Candy Grams At Schools

Partner with a local school and put out a campaign out that allows parents or loved ones to send their children candy grams at school. The school can select members of student council or an appropriate club/group to hand out the candy grams for a sweet surprise.

Galentine’s Day Party

As much as Valentine’s Day is about spreading love, let’s not forget about Galentine’s Day (February 13th). Many ladies will be looking for a way to celebrate without significant others and hosting a Galentine’s themed event that ALSO funds a good cause is something that would be a hard to pass up. Who doesn’t want to attend a party where you can have fun with your girlfriends and help animals shelters at the same time (or insert your cause here)?

Endless Possibilities

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fundraising ideas for Valentine’s Day. So, get your creativity flowing and get out there to raise money for your organization!!
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As a nonprofit organization, you don’t have MUCH to worry about during tax season. 501(c)(3) organizations file a good amount of paperwork upon establishment, in order to ensure a tax-exempt status. However, even without the requirement of paying annual taxes, there are still tax forms for your nonprofit to file to maintain this tax-exempt status.

Even though nonprofit organizations have it easier than for-profit organizations or individuals during tax season, there are still some action items to stay on top of. Let’s take a look to make sure you’re prepared for this years (and future years) taxes.

1. Form 990

Your first action item is form 990, which breaks down your nonprofit’s revenue and expenditures into various categories. You also get the opportunity to explain how you are serving the community, the value you provide and why you deserve to keep you exempt status. Before you start filling out your Form 990, you need to know which version of this form is for you.

990 Postcard or 990-N

The Form 990-N is an electronic form with 8 questions. It’s very straightforward and on the simple side of tax forms (if that exists). To qualify for the 990 postcard, your nonprofit must normally have gross receipts of less that $50,000. Therefore, this form, is meant for only the smallest of the nonprofit organizations.

990-EZ

This for is a little longer than the 990-N, coming in at 4 pages. Organizations that qualify for the EZ form are those with gross receipts less than $200,000 or total assets that equal less than $500,000. So, if your organization is mid-sized, this could be the form for you.

Standard Form 990

This 12-page form is the longest of the 990 forms but still more simple to complete than annual taxes for an individual or a for-profit company. Nonprofits that have at least $200,00 in gross receipts or above $500,000 in total assets must file the Standard Form 990.

2. Analyze Your Statement of Functional Expenses

Tracking data is key to maintaining perspective on how your organization is running, as well as reporting this information to the IRS. Data is key to any successful strategy. If you want to file your Form 990 effectively and easily, you should be tracking your data throughout the year. More specifically, your nonprofit should be tracking your statement of functional expenses to make Form 990 filing smooth and simple. Think of a statement of functional expenses as a budget breakdown, outlining where your money goes by both function and nature.

Function: programming expenses, administration, and fundraising
Nature of that function: salaries, rent, supplies, depreciation, etc

3. Hire an Accountant to Help you File

IRS forms are challenging and often seems like they are purposely confusing. It’s common to miss a line or to fill out a form incorrectly. Having an expert on your side will ensure that your forms get filed and you don’t have to deal with the complications of any mistakes. For nonprofit organizations, we recommend that you work with accountants who specialize in nonprofit accounting (such as Harrington Group). Nonprofit accounting experts will have much experience working with Form 990s and will know exactly how to make your tax season easy and painless.

4. Have Effective Accounting Reports Available

This action item comes down to being organized. You want to have your financial information at your fingertips, being able to pull what you need at a moment’s notice. For each person, this may manifest in different systems ranging from a file cabinet to a digital organization system such as QuickBooks or Quicken. Digital systems are encouraged, and they not only take up less physical space, but they tend to be easier to maintain and to access.

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There are always more ways that you can make you tax season easier, but these are some minimum suggestions for maximum results. Really take this annual time to analyze your data and look towards the year ahead. Make sure you stay organized so that you can access your data quickly and painlessly. Hire a professional to make the process seamless and free of mistakes. Tax season can be daunting but you can do this and we are here to help!

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As we roll into a new year, we are very excited to be underway remodeling our new building in Pasadena. We have made the jump from renting out an existing building to making a new building our own. This has allowed us great creative freedom in the design process, and it opens the gates for cultivating an environment that is perfect for our workflow and company needs. Since construction does not happen overnight, we are taking what we learned from 2020 and 2021 and continuing with our newfound work from home skills. I mean, it’s kind of second nature at this point, right?

We are very excited to keep you updated on this journey as it progresses and as the building continues to come together. As a start, here is a look into our construction process. We hope you are just as pumped as we are!!
















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This year we were so happy to resume our in person holiday party with our entire Harrington Group family. The Northern California office flew down to meet the Southern California office in Pasadena. We would usually pick a venue and have everyone meet there but this year we had an extra surprise in store for our employees. A tour of our brand new Pasadena office space (still under construction)!! Each person received their own HG branded hard hat and we took a group tour through the new office building that landed on the back patio for our Holiday Party.

We had a taco vendor, an open bar, a dessert station, a photo booth, lots of good company and of course our annual spinning of the wheel. It was heart warming to experience each others full company once again, to celebrate making it through another year together and to do it in our new office space. All the friendly faces were lit with Holiday cheer and breathing the fresh outdoor air. We wanted to share some highlights of our Holiday party in photos...we hope you enjoy!!



























We hope you had happy holidays and we wish you a wonderful New Year!!

xoxo,
The HG Family
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It’s that time of year again…the decorations, the holiday spirit, the hot chocolate, the festive activities, the extra time with friends and family AND of course…the gift shopping. The spirit of giving is a big part of the holiday season, and it feels wonderful to spread cheer through gifts for your loved ones. Yet, it can also be stressful for your bank account. Little gifts, big gifts and the amount of people who you may want or feel the need to give gifts to…it can all really add up. So, how do you maintain a reasonable budget for holiday gift shopping?

Don’t Procrastinate

There are two types of moods during holiday shopping: “I have plenty of time” and “oh no”. What happens when you let yourself get to the “oh no” stage? Well, panic first, followed by a (likely) big blow to your budget. Procrastination is not a budget friendly move. When you wait until the last minute, your gifting is less intentional, less thoughtful, and less cost-effective. Start thinking about the type of gifts you want to give earlier in the season.

Make A Plan

Make a list and check it twice…okay actually you should check it several times. I would even recommend an ongoing list that you can add to throughout the year. It should include the names of your closest family and friends, as well as bullet points of ideas for gifting to each of them. This list can double as birthday gift ideas or gifts for any occasion. Try really listening to your loved ones when they talk and mark down ideas as they come up. This takes the pressure off thinking about everyone in such a small window of time, once the holidays hit. It also allows you to give more thoughtful gifts and gives you more time to budget accordingly.

Handmade Gifts

Although we may think of traditional holiday shopping as fighting crowds at a chaotic mall or shopping center, gifts don’t need to be store bought. Handmade gifts are not only budget friendly, but they are often more meaningful and intentional. It shows that you put in genuine effort to create something for the person who you are gifting. You can even make a large batch of one or a few particular items and give that same item to multiple people.

Some budget friendly handmade gift ideas include:
• Christmas Tree Ornament
• Face Scrub
• Essential Oil Roller
• Cookies
• Candle
• Bath Bomb
• Scrapbook
• Macrame Plant Hanger
• Bar Soap
• Soup Mix in a Jar
• Cookie Mix in a Jar
• Hot Chocolate Mix in a Jar
• Artwork/Drawing
• Potted Plants
• Gift Basket
• So much more!!! Just be creative and use your talents 

Set A Limit

As with any other instance of budgeting, setting a limit for how much you want to spend and sticking to it is crucial. Choose an amount that you do not want to exceed, count the amount of people that you want to gift to and then divide up an average spending amount per person. This will help give you guidelines when selecting gifts.

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The Holiday season provides us with an opportunity to slow down, spend time with our loved ones and reflect on all of the reasons to be thankful. It also provides us the opportunity to give back to those who may be less fortunate than we are. If you have some time or would like to make the time this Holiday season to give back, here are some ideas for you!

• Run for a Cause

You can kill two birds with one stone this Holiday season by running for a cause. There are Holiday marathons and races all around the country that you can participate in, many of which provide the opportunity to raise money for a good cause. The calorie burn to help offset all the Holiday eating is an added bonus.

• Visit a Nursing Home

There are residents in nursing homes who don’t have family to come visit them during the Holidays. One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time. Spending time with these residents would help to provide companionship during a season where it is of the utmost importance.

• Give Presents

For many kids, the Holiday season comes with gifts in the form of a delivery from Santa Claus or a series of Chanukah presents. This is unfortunately not the case for all children. There are families in need, foster children and children who have parents in prison. Angel Tree is an organization that helps to provide gifts to these children whose parents are absent. One Simple Wish and SantaCAN are organizations that allow you to connect with children in the foster care system and find out what gifts they’re asking for.

https://www.prisonfellowship.org

https://www.onesimplewish.org

• Make Blankets

Donating money to an organization is always helpful but may feel less personal. Alternatively, you can choose to use your own hands to make blankets for needy children. The organization Project Linus can help you to facilitate this donation. Named after the Peanuts character, this organization was founded to help underprivileged children find a sense of warmth and security through gifts of handmade blankets.

https://www.projectlinus.org

• Help Serve Meals

Volunteer work is an excellent opportunity to give back. Volunteering to serve meals to the homeless and underprivileged during a time when most are enjoying holiday meals with their families, provides these people with an opportunity to receive the gift of a kind gesture. Look for a food bank near you and inquire about volunteer opportunities and scheduling.
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In the world of nonprofit organizations, adaptation is a necessary skill for survival. Change is an inevitable aspect of life and there are a variety of factors that may cause a nonprofit organization to change. Some of these possibilities include leadership changes, a shift in the demand for specific services, world events (such as a pandemic, a weather disaster, ect) or even just an extended length of time. With the evolution of an organization should come a refreshed mission statement. A mission statement outlines the purpose or goal of a business or organization, what they intend to do for the community and whom they intend to serve.

One reason a nonprofit organization may need to change their mission statement would be to better articulate the goal of existing programs. It’s possible that not much has changed about the organization and the programs themselves have not changed, but there was a realization that the mission statement does not accurately or fully reflect your current operations. During this change, there are some factors you will need to consider:

1. Once the refreshed mission statement has been approved by the nonprofit board, the bylaws and articles of incorporation should be evaluated to determine if they need to be updated. There should also be a full “rebranding” launch of the website, social media and any marketing materials.
2. All changes to the mission statement must be reported to the IRS on Form 990 annual information report.

Another reason an organization may need to update their mission statement would be to reflect any changes to a program or the development or a new program. Steps one and two above will need to be taken. Furthermore, if the mission statement needs to be updated because the operations of the organization are changing in some way, you have two options on how to communicate with the IRS.

3. Tell the IRS directly (if you are confident that the changes are in line with your approved tax-exempt status as specified in Section 501 (c)(3)). This can be done by answering “yes” to Part III Line 2 of the Form 990, which asks if the organization undertook any significant program services during the year which were not listed on the prior Form 990. Fill out an explanation on Schedule O.
4. Ask for approval from the IRS (if the changes are not within the scope of the original tax-exempt purpose). You can request a private letter ruling in accordance with IRS rules and formatting.

If you are considering changing your mission statement, we hope this is helpful to you. When in doubt, consult your CPA!!
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When companies engage in activities that are dishonest or illegal, it is referred to as corporate fraud. Corporate fraud comes in many forms and ranges from falsified accounting to misrepresenting services or products. Without a system in place, it can be challenging to prevent and difficult to catch. Every business should have a strategy in place because avoiding fraud is much simpler than recovering damages after the fact. Creating proactive policies, implementing a system of checks and balances and through physical security, a company may limit the extent to which fraud can take place.

Some of the most common types of corporate fraud include asset misappropriation, falsified accounting, misrepresenting services or products, corruption and cyber fraud.

ASSET MISAPPROPRIATION

This type of fraud is internal and occurs when employees abuse the company resources. This type of fraud is extremely prevalent and can be very sneaky. It may include filing fraudulent reimbursement claims, directly stealing money or directly stealing company property (non-cash assets). The incentive here lies with individual employees and usually has to do with employee satisfaction or their own personal financial situation.

FALSIFIED ACCOUNTING

This type of fraud is also internal and often takes place at a higher level. A company’s financial accounting records may be altered to present an image of high revenue and profits. This false image might be for a variety of reasons, including to hide shortcomings such as a net loss, slow revenue, declining sales, or hefty expenses. The incentive may come from a company’s desire to look good for their investors or potential buyers and/or to protect stock or valuation from dropping.

MISREPRESENTATION OF PRODUCTS/SERVICES

This type of fraud is also internal and often takes place at a higher level. A company with faulty product may aim to disguise flaws and defects. This will happen because the company does not want to invest in repairing or redesigning the product, so instead they deflect. The incentive may come from a lack of finances to correct problems or the worry of driving customers away by admitting a mistake.

CORRUPTION

This type of fraud is internal and occurs when employees engage in schemes to leverage their influence in commercial transactions for personal gain. This action infringes their responsibilities as an employee of the company. Corruption includes bribery, extortion and conflicts of interest.

CYBER FRAUD

This type of fraud is external and employees at all levels should be on the lookout for this type of scam. It may show itself as an email or a call that looks to be from a reputable source but with the ultimate goal of convincing an employee to share sensitive information. As more transactions move to an online system, the risk for cyber fraud increases.


With the risk factor for fraud being so broad, it is important that companies set themselves up for protection. A fraud prevention strategy is critical for any business, large or small. Organizations can lower the risk of fraud by establishing certain procedures and controls.

1. Evaluate Your Employees

The quality of employees who you hire is a very important factor in preventing internal fraud. Constant employee evaluation and monitoring is highly recommended. Managers should connect with their employees and spend time getting to know them. Unethical people tend to exhibit behavioral characteristics that may reveal their disloyalty. It is advised that any employee in a position dealing with money or managing private clients undergo background checks.

2. Internal Controls

Internal controls refer to plans, programs or processes used to manage assets and detect fraud. Implementing internal controls is the easiest way to prevent fraud. These controls allow you to easily detect wrongdoing while also making it harder for the employees to commit fraud. Think of this as checks and balances. Segregation or tasks, and documentation review are essential components of internal control that can help to decrease the risk of fraud.

3. Have a Reporting System

Employees should be trained in the area of fraud prevention. They should also be made aware that management is monitoring any potential fraud. Sometimes just knowing that you are being watched can prevent an employee from committing an unethical act. In addition to this, set up a reporting system so that employees may report suspect behavior or activities by coworkers and customers.

4. Regular Auditing

This one is simple, the more regularly you audit the books, the less likely fraud is to slip through the cracks. Cash, refunds, product returns, inventory management and accounting activities should all be audited on a regular basis. Non-scheduled audits can also aid in the detection of fraud.

5. Trust Your Business Partners

Before entering a commercial partnership with another company or person that demands some amount of trust, make sure you have done your research on that potential business partner. Having references and knowing their name and actual address will be a big barrier to fraud. Research before committing should reveal enough information to determine whether they are an ethical business or not and how long they have been in operation.

 
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